Abstract

Technology adoption in low-income regions is among the key challenges facing international development projects. Nearly 40% of the world’s population relies on open fires and rudimentary cooking devices exacerbating health outcomes, deforestation, and climatic impacts of inefficient biomass burning. Clean technology alternatives such as clean cookstoves are among the most challenging technologies to approach their target goals through sustainable adoption due to lack of systematic market-driven design for adoption. Thus, a method is needed to provide insight regarding how target customers evaluate and perceive causes for adopting a clean technology. The holistic approach of this study captures the three main aspects of technology adoption through lenses of social networks, individual and society scale beliefs, and rational decision-making behavior. Based on data collected in the Apac region in Northern Uganda, an Agent-Based Model is developed to simulate emerging adoption behavior in a community. Then, four different scenarios investigate how adoption patterns change due to potential changes in technology or intervention strategy. These scenarios include influence of stove malfunctions, price elasticity, information campaigns, and strength of social network. Results suggest that higher adoption rates are achievable if designed technologies are more durable, information campaigns provide realistic expectations for users, policy makers and education programs work toward women’s empowerment, and communal social ties are recognized for influence maximization. Application of this study provides insight for technology designers, project implementers, and policy makers to update their practices for achieving sustainable and to the scale clean technology adoption rates.

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